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The grand opening of the Sydney opera house with boats around the harbor.

Our story

The Sydney Opera House exists because a few brave people dared to think differently and is now a World Heritage-listed masterpiece. From conception to completion, the building tested the limits of engineering, construction and design.

Designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, its unique and innovative design represents a breakthrough in modern architecture. The iconic sail-like structures have made it a symbol of Sydney and modern Australia as a whole.

When the Opera House opened its doors in 1973, a new era of cultural discovery and community engagement began. Five decades later, we stand as the nation’s busiest performing arts centre and an important community meeting place. With more then seven venues and event spaces, it is now a host to a wide range of events such as concerts, ballets, operas, and theatre productions.

Discover more about our story and contribution to culture, heritage, sustainability and tourism.


Ever since it was a place for ceremony, gathering and celebration in Aboriginal Australia, Tubowgule has always reflected the society tucked in around Sydney Cove.

The famous architect of Sydney opera house Jorn Utzon.

Jørn Utzon AC

His mastery in fusing craft traditions and ancient architecture with modernist thinking infused his designs for the Sydney Opera House.

Construction begins

On 2 March 1959, a crowd gathered under umbrellas, in the rain, to watch the ceremony that marked the start of construction of the Sydney Opera House.

The spherical solution

Jørn Utzon’s realisation that the form of the Sydney Opera House could be derived from the surface of a sphere marked a milestone in 20th century architecture.

Utzon departs the House

As the sails took shape, Bennelong Point became a battle ground of politics, pragmatism and the quest for perfection.

Peter Hall and the completion of the Opera House

Peter Hall was one of Australia’s brightest young architects at the time he took up the daunting role of design architect to complete Stage Three of Sydney’s new Opera House.

50 years of extraordinary moments

From Ella Fitzgerald to Bon Iver, Dance Rites Festival to Nelson Mandela’s address from the steps, the Opera House and the extraordinary experiences on our stages reflect our contemporary culture.

Conserving and celebrating our heritage

We are transforming the building for future generations while respecting and preserving the very features that make it unique.

Decade of Renewal

As we open up the Opera House to more of the community, the Decade of Renewal has helped us live up to the promise of the building itself.